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Avery gets history lesson

Braves starter Steve Avery set a playoffs record by pitching six shutout innings, extending his scoreless streak to 22 innings. He surpassed the 18 shutout innings pitched by Oakland's Ken Holtzman in 1973-74.

Avery, the Braves' 22-year-old left-hander, was happy with the honor, but didn't know much about the man he passed.

"I never heard about him until you said his name," Avery said. "When did he set the record?"

"1974," someone shouted.

"Well, I was 4 then," Avery said. "I wasn't much of a fan."

Record time

Wednesday's game was one for the books _ the record books. The 18 total runs and the 12 pitchers used were records for League Championship Series play. The 13 runs scored by the Braves tied an LCS record. The seven pitchers used by the Pirates were the most for a nine-inning LCS game. And, getting a little silly here, Atlanta's five runs in the seventh inning were the most ever scored in the seventh inning of an NL playoff game.

Advantage

The Braves are the 11th team to take a 2-0 NLCS advantage. Eight of the previous 10 have won the pennant. But the last two teams to take the 2-0 lead (the 1985 Dodgers and 1984 Cubs) lost the series.

Practice day

Today is a travel day in the series, with Game 3 set for 8:35 p.m. Friday. The Pirates will hold an optional workout today at 3 p.m. The Braves will work out at Three Rivers Stadium at 4:30 p.m. Minor-league pitching coach Bruce Del Canton will throw batting practice to help the Braves adjust to the knuckleball. Pittsburgh's Game 3 starter is rookie knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

Miscellany

Jose Lind has hit two home runs in playoff games, Andy Van Slyke and Barry Bonds have combined for one. Wednesday's attendance was 51,975, the eighth time in eight tries the Braves have exceeded 50,000 for a playoff game.

_ MARC TOPKIN

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